Apple Continues to Quietly, Remotely Delete and Install macOS Files

2 minute read
| Analysis

For the sake of security and Catalina app compatibility, Apple has been remotely deleting and adding files to macOS.

Zoom Related Apps

Previously, we reported that Apple has quietly removed a Zoom installed web server from macOS for security reasons.

[Apple Releases Mac Update to Remove Zoom Web Server.]

Now, we’ve learned, as our Charlotte Henry reports and The Verge clarifies, Apple has removed associated web servers from the RingCentral and Zhumu apps.

These video conferencing apps both used technology from Zoom — they’re essentially white labels — and thus they also had Zoom’s security flaws. Specifically, they installed secondary pieces of software that could take commands from websites to open up your webcam in a video conference without your intervention.

This is good news; Apple is looking out for us. My only complaint is that Apple, a company obsessed with notifications, hasn’t figured out a graceful way of notifying the users of macOS that their OS has been remotely modified by its creator. It’s a challenge to be informative but not alarming, but I think Apple can do it.

Catalina’s won’t run 32-bit apps. You’ve been warned.

Compatibility Notification Data

On July 17, The Eclectic Light Company reported that Apple has recently, remotely installed the file: CompatibilityNotificationData.bundle in:

/System/Library/CoreServices/

Mine is dated July 3rd, 2019. The Eclectic Light Company developer explains:

Inside this Property List are dictionaries inside dictionaries, which list apps which aren’t 64-bit and therefore will be incompatible with Catalina. Each is given a minimum and maximum version number, and may be assigned to an app group….

This bundle is clearly part of preparations for migration to Catalina. The data might be used by the existing Legacy Software item in System Information, but might also be required for another tool which will ship with the 10.14.6 update, due very soon now.

Again, I have only a little heartburn about this. Especially since there are software tools that flag changes to the OS. But like the argument above, for the sake of transparency and trust, Apple might think about a notification system specially designed to alert the average user. That would avoid a situation in which users discover a potentially alarming change from some other source and become annoyed.

It would also assist IT managers who work with Macs that are often offline, such as ships at sea or those taken into SCIFs. That is, if they haven’t been formally notified by some other means.

I expect to see more of these quiet macOS changes from Apple as security threats evolve. (Like the XProtect system that’s been in use for years.) Until Apple decides to keep users informed, we’ll just have to discovered these changes amongst ourselves.

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titanium tv download
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titanium tv download

don’t know why apple takes this decision, hope for the best.
titaniumtv download

frozenjim
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frozenjim

Apple must be very, very cautious to not emulate Microsoft’s policy of hijacking your computer to do whatever they feel is appropriate.
I left Microsoft once and for all after their forced updates caused me to fail in boardrooms because my presentation could not be shown due to a 30-minute upgrade that I had no control over.
Apple – remember that you are American, remember that your users are free citizens. Learn from Microsoft’s mistakes, do not emulate them.

wab95
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wab95

John: Culture is a dynamic, living thing, that grows under collective and multivariate influence in ways that none of us can fully anticipate. This applies to all expressions of culture, be it social, political, industrial, technological etc. This can lead to both delight and disconcert in equal measure, one’s personal preferences depending. Just as soon as we become accustomed to things being done a certain way, along comes a change driven by forces we may not have recognised or anticipated in a new direction, rousing us from our comfort zones into a brave new world of uncertainty. While a hearty… Read more »

MacHeritage
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MacHeritage

I was thinking how much I appreciated Apple releasing those fixes to block Zoom’s issue (I use Zoom) but I really agree with John, we need notification before changing things. It shouldn’t be that difficult to do. Looking down the road, If Apple blocked an app for another reason other the pure security, in the future, this would be a major issue. I don’t think any Mac user wants Apple telling them what they can and cannot run on their computers. We have that problem on iOS and even Android already (banning Gab, is a perfect example on both cases).… Read more »

Ned
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Ned

And what else does Apple do that you’re unaware of? “We did this for your benefit and didn’t want to bother you.” But you wouldn’t let a vendor you bought something from have access to your house to make secure deliveries while you are away – for your convenience. Question every company including Apple.

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ToneWilliamsUSA

I am not comfortable with Apple remotely deleting and adding any files to macOS without my express permission. Period. I bought my Mac, paid well over market value for it due to the Apple tax, and consider it my personal property. In fact, I bought a personal computer. I use it the way I like; I configure it the way I like; and I want everyone but me to keep their paws off my personal computer. Period.

dtm1
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dtm1

Can’t say specifics – but YES Apple is.